Labeled as the perennial gatekeeper of the division, Guida could crack the top 10 with a victory over Gomi at UFC 125.
#12 Mac Danzig (MMA record: 20-8-1, UFC record: 4-4)
After a string of losses, Danzig redeemed himself with a ruthless knockout over TUF 2 winner Stevenson at UFC 124.
#13 Mark Bocek (MMA record: 9-3, UFC record: 5-3)
One of the most dangerous BJJ specialists in the division, Bocek recovered from a close decision loss to Jim Miller by submitting Dustin Hazelett with a triangle choke at UFC 124.
# 14 Melvin Guillard (MMA record: 26-8-2, UFC record: 8-4)
With three straight wins this year, Guillard has really begun to refine his game under the tutelage of Greg Jackson. If “The Young Assassin” defeats Dunham in his next fight it could catapult Guillard right into the upper echelon.
#15 Nik Lentz (MMA record: 20-3-2, UFC record: 4-1)
While not the most aesthetically pleasing fighter in the division, Lentz is unbeaten in the UFC and has used his wrestling base to grind out wins over Tyson Griffin, Andre Winner and Rob Emerson.
#16 Donald Cerrone (MMA record: 13-3-1 NC, WEC record: 6-3-1 NC)
“Cowboy” was one of the most beloved and exciting lightweights in the WEC. Look for Cerrone to put on some fantastic fights in 2011, and Cole Miller might be first on the list.
# 17 Cole Miller (MMA record: 17-4, UFC record: 6-2)
Miller displayed an improved striking game as well as his already renowned ground game in his win over TUF 9 winner Ross Pearson at UFC Fight Night 22. He went 2-0 in 2010 with two straight submission wins.
#18 Joe Stevenson (MMA record: 31-12, UFC record: 8-6)
With two losses in a row, Stevenson has dropped down the ladder quite a bit in 2010. Still, he’s an exciting fighter and more talented than his recent record would show.
#19 Ross Pearson (MMA record: 11-4, UFC record: 3-1)
Pearson suffered a minor setback in his submission loss to Cole Miller, but before that he looked absolutely vicious in his wins over Dennis Siver and Aaron Riley.
#20 Dennis Siver (MMA record: 17-7, UFC record: 6-4)
Siver has a consistency issue but currently he is riding a two fight win streak over Spencer Fisher and Andre Winner. A win over top-ranked Sotiropoulos in Australia would boost the German up the rankings significantly.